Republicans’ ‘Mean’ Health Care Plan: The Real Cost of Trump’s AHCA Is Jobs, Study Finds

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has received constant waves of criticism over its secret tinkering with the controversial and widely panned American Healthcare Act (AHCA)—even from President Donald Trump, who reportedly said it was “mean” and asked that it be “more generous.”

Trump’s characterization of the bill, which passed the House of Representatives last month, could very well be correct, and may even affect one of his top campaign promises: boosting the economy and jobs.

A study examining how each state could be affected if it passes the Senate and is written into law, published Wednesday by The Commonwealth Fund, found that by 2026 nearly one million jobs could be lost, state gross domestic product could shrink by $93 billion and businesses could suffer a $148 billion bite.

When the House passed the bill on May 24, critics focused in particular on the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that 23 million Americans would be uninsured by 2026 and Medicaid would see $880 billion in cuts during the same eight years.

But the new study appears to be focusing directly on the president’s main concern—the economy—one of the few places he’s claimed success after five months in office.

Should the bill be passed this year and enacted in 2018, there would be initial job growth that would gradually taper off. The bill ultimately would result in the loss of jobs in as many as 10 states, according to the study.

Initially, the repeal of Obamacare would raise the federal deficit following a tax cut, and then lead to the creation of 864,000 jobs by 2018. But due to the rising costs of health care, coupled with the bill’s tax cuts, over time more sectors of the economy would be affected, and eventually 924,000 jobs would be lost.

“Combined, tax repeal and coverage-related changes lead to initial economic and employment growth but eventual losses,” the study reads.

“Coverage and spending-related policies are directly related to funding for health services (e.g., Medicaid, premium tax credits, high-risk pools). The reductions directly affect the health sector—hospitals, doctors offices or pharmacies—but then flow out to other sectors.

“Thus, about two-fifths of jobs lost due to coverage policies are in the health sector, while three-fifths are in other sectors. Tax changes affect consumption broadly, spreading effects over most job sectors,” the study said.

If the current version of the bill passes, job losses could significantly hit 10 states, some of which went with Trump in the Electoral College last year. Florida, Pennsylvania and New York would be affected the worst, with upward of 80,000 jobs or more lost, while Michigan could dip by 51,000, and New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina by more than 40,000 each.

It also appears the entire country could have serious problems with the AHCA. A New York Times composite of eight national polls found that on average, only 29 percent of Americans support the bill and not a single state is in favor of its passage.

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